Ethics complaint filed against congressional candidate Keith Fitzgerald

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A story which was originally reported on this website has prompted a Bradenton man to file a complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics alleging congressional candidate Keith Fitzgerald failed to disclose a conflict of interest when he was a member of the Florida Legislature.

Sarah Kennedy of the Bradenton Herald reports that Fitzgerald denied the allegation. He said the filing of the complaint was “sleazy.”

The complaint filed earlier this month by George Del Monte, 76, a retired engineer from Bradenton, alleges Fitzgerald, a former Florida House member from Sarasota, failed “to disclose his conflict of interest in voting on millions of dollars in taxpayer funds benefitting his employer, New College of Florida.”

The complaint also alleges Fitzgerald “voted on several budgets that provided New College with nearly $121 million and failed to disclose his conflict of interest,” as required by law.

Asked how he came to file the complaint, Del Monte said, “Frankly, I guess I’ve been sort of stewing in my own juices; I never did anything like that, but something just lit my fire.”

“It just set me on fire because I feel individuals are helpless, and by submitting a complaint, I multiplied myself; there’ll be more than one of us, sort of like a de facto member of the commission if they do something about this,” he said.

Fitzgerald is now running against incumbent Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, in the 16th congressional district.

Asked for a comment, Buchanan spokeswoman Sally Tibbetts said, “It sounds like Keith Fitzgerald is nervous, and given the seriousness of the ethics violation, he has good reason to be.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.